Thursday, 13 July 2017

Damn Dead Strawberry

It was a while ago when everyone online was having some Wild Weather Ales but, clearly, the brewery name stayed with me because when I saw some at the local bottle shop I had to try some. I had a good gander and I rather like strawberries and so it was that I found myself in possession of Damn Dead Strawberry, a lactose sour in a can. I have no idea what I was expecting except the fact that I have been on the sour a lot lately and clearly thought that it was worth a try. By way of preamble, I rather like the artwork on the can and the combination of that, being a sour and the fact that it has strawberries were the full and frank reason I bought the can. And now you know.

A sunny and hot day, which is becoming something of a feature of this summertime, in the garden and it was time to find out exactly what was going to become of what I had purchased. Would you like to know more?

Cans of beer like this will never cease to amaze me by not behaving as you would expect a can of soft drink to behave. Fizzy drinks make a spritzy noise and then spit bubbles everywhere, you suck up the excess liquid after the pour from the side of the can and feel that it does a good job inside your mouth. This does not behave like that at all, though it was a bit fizzier than other offerings from cans in the past. On the pour it fell into the glass without too much fuss and without producing a big head, which was welcome, but with a strawberry red colour that I really wasn't expecting. I don't know what I was expecting from this but the colour and the texture of it going into the glass was not it. I was a bit impressed, if I'm honest. The aroma was a definite one of strawberry but I don't mean the kind of artificial strawberry that smells more like strawberries than strawberries do, this was actually strawberry. I know because we have a strawberry plant at the back of the garden and it smelled very similar indeed. Also, some bubbles, but not so many that made me think this was a fizzy drink, this was a goodly amount that suggested a good delivery system for the flavour.

The first taste was entirely inkeeping with first impressions. A froth on the lips with a hint of strawberry action before the lactose, I'm assuming, kicked in and smoothed the path to the middle of the mouth, creating a full and soft mouthfeel despite the apparent thinness of the brew in the glass. Strawberry featured heavily, a cascade of it over the tongue and into the sides of the mouth, carried upon a wave of sour. This was not the overpowering sour of the yogurt in Tzatziki Sour (see here) nor the kind of screw-face-up sour of Tart (see here) but a kind of sour that would not be out of place in actual fruit. It wasn't the nuclear option of the sour sweets that show pictures of cartoon people with exploding heads and was actually quite welcome. It's a bit more sour than your average bitter, of course, but it wasn't too much and was very welcome in the heat of the day. Even Willow admitted that this was not a bad brew and she is no fan of sours. She also remarked upon the strawberry taste.

Despite the wetness of the thing as a whole there was a dry bitterness on the back of the throat, ameliorated somewhat by the weight of strawberry flavour, and then it was gone down the back. Left with thag dryness the mouth creates its own juices, now tinged in the slightly soft and thick strawberry left over from the passage of the brew down the mouth, and creates a lip-smacking sensation that seems quite common with sour ales. It kept me coming back for more and I have to say that I think I rather like it. Very red, almost vibrant, and with a natural flavour that runs through at a very serviceable 4.2% ABV. I won't say it's a session ale, though it is the right strength, but it is a summer brew to be had with salads and company in the garden beneath blue skies and amid the smell of a border in bloom to the sound of bees and other insects busily buzzing in the breeze.

More to the point, being in a can, it has survived being stored in the pantry and hasn't gone all crazy and ruined like the last few bottles I have pulled from there after the recent bout of hot and annoying weather. For that reason alone it gains quite an award from me and I am glad to have been able to find that out. Is this something about being in a can or something about quality of ale or was I just plain lucky? That question will have to be left to the philosophers or else argued about by people I know on Twitter.

This is best had in loose clothing on a hot day when there is a blue sky stretching above. The sun beats down, the pollen is heavy and there is a storm coming soon. Barbeques have been eschewed as causing too much heat and you clutch your hat to your head as you and friends take a seat at a picnic table with salad made indoors and glistening in the wet of the lettuce and vinaigrette. Croutons may make an appearance and there will be a clutch of glasses into which you can decant the cans of Damn Dead Strawberry and laugh just a little too loudly, listen to the music from six or seven doors down being played too loudly too, and enjoy the fact that this sour is refreshing and red and strawberry.

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